overview and introduction

investing in the future of healthcare

The National Kidney Foundation of Illinois is committed to funding the most promising kidney disease research in the state of Illinois. By offering grants for basic, translational and clinical research in kidney disease to scientists and clinicians at various career levels, the NKFI seeks to advance treatment, improve the management of CKD, and ultimately - develop a cure.


In keeping with our mission, the NKFI prioritizes patient-oriented projects that will increase the understanding of kidney, urologic and transplantation-related diseases. The NKF, its affiliates, and divisions are leaders in research, and collectively are responsible for funding over one third of all medical research for kidney disease in the United States.


Resources for research are provided via our endowment, which is funded by the Tony Noel Memorial Research Fund, individual gifts, the Noel Foundation and select proceeds from Gift of Life Gala events.

To discuss research opportunities, or for more information


Please contact the NKFI's Programs Director, Rachel DePauw

email:  |  phone: (312) 321 - 1500 ext. 258


research grants program

current opportunities

Research Grant for the Young Investigator

The NKFI Research Grant program funds young investigators who have research projects that will increase the understanding of kidney, urologic and related diseases and transplantation as well as improve the clinical management and treatment or cure of these diseases. Grant submissions are reviewed and selected by the NKFI Research Review Committee on an annual basis.


  • Letter of Intent Deadline: February 28, 2021

  • Application Deadline: May 14, 2021

Crain's Business article about 2013-2015 Young Investigator Recipient Dr. Jason Wertheim's research. 


Application Guidelines and Instructions


Medical Student Awards

The new Student Awards will give $3,000 stipends to up to three medical students for research projects over the summer. The research must be supported by a primary investigator, and the student cannot be the primary investigator.


  • Up to 3 awarded per year

  • Application Deadline: May 14, 2021

Congratulations to the 2020 winners!


  • Reem Hamoda, University of Chicago

  • Jacob Bruinius, University of Illinois Chicago

Third-Year Fellowship Grant

This grant will give salary support to allow a third-year option for existing fellows. This grant will be of particular use to those in need of an extra year of research before launching their careers. We will require institutional investment in the fellow and no less than 75 percent dedicated research time for the awardee.

  • Letter of Intent Deadline: December 31, 2020 at 5:00 PM CST

  • Application Deadline: February 28, 2021 at 5:00 PM CST

Doctor with Files

Application Guidelines and Instructions

The Innovations Grant

This grant supports and funds new, innovative applications, research, technologies, and other novel processes that lead to more effective, equitable and sustainable solutions to improve the lives of those at risk for kidney disease and transplantation-related diseases, and/or improve the prevention, management and treatment or cure of these diseases.

This grant is open to innovators addressing all sorts of kidney and transplant community needs. Projects can be at various stages of the innovation process including identifying the need, increasing collective understanding of the issue, generating ideas or testing and implementing solutions. Proposals can focus on one area or span multiple stages. 

  • Application Deadline:  February 7, 2021 by 5 pm CST


Application Guidelines and Instructions


foundation news

read dispatches along the path to progress

Read stories from transplant patients, organ donors, and members of Team Kidney whose lives have been impacted by advancements in clinical research.